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Looking Back, How Would This Have Been Received?

February 6th, 2011

Moderator: OK, let’s ask our vice-presidential candidates what they will be doing a few years from now should they not win the election.

Senator: Well, I intend to continue to serve in the Senate, focusing on my post in the Committee on Foreign Relations, working with the opposition to improve our standing in the world.

Moderator: And you, governor?

Governor: Oh, if I lose then I’m just gonna quit as governor mid-term, so I can, you know, concentrate on book deals, giving commentary for Fox News–and oh yeah, I’m gonna have my own reality TV show! As for interviews, I’m gonna only let Fox–the friendlier people on Fox that is–interview me, because I just can’t stand that lamestream media and their “Gotcha” journalism. For the most part, though, I’ll stay in politics using Facebook and Twitter, establishing my credentials so I can become a kingmaker in the midterms, and possibly a presidential candidate in the next election.

Moderator: [Pause] Are you fucking kidding me?

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  1. Troy
    February 7th, 2011 at 09:27 | #1

    Don’t underestimate the strategic value of appealing to the left half of the IQ curve.

    That’s where most of the people are these days.

    I think about half the derision sent at Palin is unfair to some extent — two wrongs trying to make a right.

    25-40% of this country are utter f—tards. That’s her (and the FOX NEWS) base. Throw in the top 10-20% upper/upper-middle class, 10-20% neocon element, and you’ve got something resembling a political force.

    25% of this country believe Obama is a muslim.

    I think chances are only 50-50 that Obama wins reelection in general, and I think chances are also 50-50 that it’s going to be a religious nutcase that’s going to take him out.

    日本にはもう一回住ましてみようかどうか。。。まだ分からん。I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire in 1992 and I don’t really know if Japan’s going to be any better this decade.

    Much of Palin’s media presence since resigning her do-nothing state job has been a concerted effort of being groomed for the 2012 race. She didn’t get that TV show for the ratings, it was a Triumph of the Will-style public propaganda effort.

    There are some very powerful conservative forces that are pushing her — FOX, AEI, WSJ, NRO — and only a few voices that are pushing back (eg. Frum).

    This is 90% kabuki, intended to swing enough “low-information voters” to get that 270 EVs.

    BHO won Ohio by 4.6% that’s a 2.3% split, 23 out of 1000 people changing their vote and McCain would have one.

    And BHO had 3 states weaker than that — NC, FL, and IN. These all went massively for the Republicans in 2010, as did Ohio, so it’s safe to write these off for 2012, unless the economy gets much better over the next 18 months.

    That leaves Virgina as next in line — 6.3% victory margin. He needs to hold that too, for if he doesn’t, he has to hold ALL of the next 8 states — CO, NM, NV, IA, NH, PA, WI to get to 270.

    After that is NJ, OR, and MI, so he might be safe.

  2. Tim Kane
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:36 | #2

    Your triumph of the will comment got me thinking.

    You said, there are some powerful forces behind her, namely FOX, AEI, WSJ, NRO – at least two of those four are Rupert Murdock (so now we have a king maker who is essentially American out of convenience, otherwise an Australian – so that leaves questions open to his commitment to America’s and the public’s interests).

    That can be only a very small circle in those other two organizations.

    Back in the early 1930s, industry got behind Hitler. They probably saw him as poppy cock too. In 1931 he was known for only a few things: being a vagabond washed into Germany in time for WWI. Never rising above corporal in his four years in the German army despite millions dying around him (though he did receive an iron cross) and the beer hall putsch and Mein Kamp which came out of his time in jail afterwords. The industrialist thought they could control this rogue.

    Pallin seems to parallel this guy pretty much: both rogues (especially intellectually) with a flair for political bombasticy and hyperbole, tempramentally sympathetic to bullying the opposition (don’t retreat, reload), and so on. The only thing different is Pallin did a reverse Beer Hall Pustch when she resigned from public office. She rightly saw there was more and greener grass on the other side of the fence, along with freer movement.

    Maybe someone in those organizations you mentioned encouraged her to follow this route with intense backing, promising all the “triumph of the will” shutzpah. More likely, probably.

    But I don’t think Pallin has got some macabre strategy to get to the White House. I think her reaction is to just keep cashing in, and pulling on the thread for as long as it lasts. She was a small town mayor only a few years ago. Then she became a small state governor on almost a lark. If it gets her to the White House, great, but if she just comes out of it with a measely $100 million, then that’s great too.

    Nevertheless, Now I think I understand the downfall of the Weimar republic and what it must have felt like to liberal Germans.

    At its heart, the Nazi’s represented a coalition of those that hated the treaty of Versailles and the Wiemar Republic that went along with it. They were resenters. And being resenters, that made them desconstructionist happy to destroy what existed.

    Same thing with Movement conservatives. They represent a coalition of resenters. Sometime in the past, the country faced a fork in the road, and they resent the road that was taken. For Rich Republicans, that’s the New Deal, for Southerners, its Civil Rights &/or the outcome of the civil war, for Religious Nutballs its the civil liberties movement, for rightwingnut Catholics its the Roe V. Wade part of that civil liberties movment, for Conservative Militarist it was the out come of the Vietnam war, and so on. All of these groups resent the existing situation the way the Nazi’s resented the Wiemar republic. They wanted to role the clock back to a time before the fork was taken, either before 1918, or before 1914.

    These are, simply, barbarians at the gates, in fact inside the gate. They operate under protections that the constitutional system affords them, even while they are banging away at trying to deconstruct it. The fact is we have more resentment movments than Germany had in 1931. These people will not stop until they know down the construction they so loathe. The flat domino theory says its easier to knock a domino down than stand it up on its edge, but that’s the hallmark of civilization – the structures we build. These are barbarians, inside the gate, they will not stop until they tear down the structure and as the flat domino theory shows, the structure is tear downable. Given enough time and enough money they will succeed. If it’s not Pallin, they’ll find someother rogue. Destruction is their aim and its what they do.

    The perfect Republican candidate is George Bush: high republican pedigree, and low republican (i.e. religious wingnut fundie) exterior. I’m sure if they can find another then they’ll run that. But at his heart, he was the ultimate deconstructor – never flinched while he destroyed the international legal system his own father tried to create (Bush I’s new world order was international rule of law by U.N. standards – not a bad thing). He crapped on the constitution more than once, which created great thrills for the deconstructionist (especially that torture thing he put in place then lied about).

    None of this can be good for the country. Obama is a fine man – in fact a great man. So was Herbert Hoover. But he’s not man enough for the particular job he has. We need a different kind of great man. I wonder if we’ll ever get lucky enough to find it.

  3. Troy
    February 7th, 2011 at 11:42 | #3

    represented a coalition of those that hated the treaty of Versailles and the Wiemar Republic that went along with it

    Everybody hated the treaty. It poisoned German politics until the mid-20s when the US dialed it back with the Dawes Plan.

    Weimar was a more curious beast. Its two presidential elections lay out the divisions:

    In 1925, 40% were revisionist right-wing (today’s Republicans)
    ~40% were left-wing (rabble-rousing liberal left)
    15% were centrists (today’s mainstream Democrats and the two liberal Republicans)
    7% were radical left (communist)
    5% were radical right.

    I think a lot of stuff now is just setting up for 2012. If Obama wins reelection, then I think he can begin to be the good reformer we thought we voted for.

    We still don’t know him, but the one advantage two-term presidents have is the ability to build familiarity over time.

  4. Tim Kane
    February 8th, 2011 at 00:56 | #4

    My Con Law prof was actually a specialist on German Legal theory in Jurisprudence, particularly Kelson. As I vaguely recall, his few statements on Wiemar was that in many ways, it was one of most advanced, modern, liberal constitutions created at the time – almost a miracle of sorts given the context it was born in but its primary problem was that it was not supported by the population – despite it’s many qualities, including reliance on the will of the people, it was not supported by the people. It’s one flaw, was the provision it made for concentration of executive power during emergencies. As he stated, having placed that provision in their constitution, emergencies came remarkably often.

    I often think Wiemar constitution might have survived reactionaries had it kept the monarchy. Hitler couldn’t campaign on a theme of German restoration, while bashing the constitution, if Germany still had the monarch. Monarchies are good ways of muting conservatives because they are largely symbolic, and Monarchs, usually being well educated and otherwise powerless, tend to be liberal, or at least, forward thinking. That’s not a guarantee though, Italy was still a Kingdom under Mussolini’s dictatorship – which is why they became a republic, the king failed to do his job in muting reactionary conservatives.

    Ironically, Hitler did not destroy the Wiemar constitution. His dictatorship rested firmly on the enabling acts. The enabling acts had an expiration date, so every few years the Nazis gathered up again in the Riechstag to renew them on schedule. Hitler’s dictatorship was legal under Wiemar, not illegal. The Wiemar constitution did not disappear until the occupation of Germany.

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